Mother's Tomb - Absent Not Dead | EP Review

Mother's tomb are a fairly new band from Atlanta, Georgia. The band was formed after founder and guitarist Jason Schwartzwalder moved from Tampa back home to Atlanta. This EP, Absent Not Dead, is their first release since their formation last year, and features four tracks of enjoyable, old school melodic death metal. The EP will satisfy fans of thrash and melodic death metal alike, with tracks here sounding like a nice blend of Gothenburg metal reminiscent of In Flames as well as At The Gates, and 80s thrash metal that bay area fans will appreciate.

Whilst there are only 3 full tracks and one instrumental intro on this EP, and despite Mother's Tomb only being a band for little over a year, this Absent Not Dead shows a lot of promise for a band this early on in their career. What's on offer here may not be anything particularly groundbreaking, but the songwriting and instrumentation is inescapably tight and well written, and the vocals, reminiscent of Morbid Angel, are delivered with lasered precision, courtesy of frontman Donny Hamilton.

The lyrics mainly revolve around the death of Schwartzwalder's cousin, who was murdered in 2016 and who this EP is dedicated to. Despite the death growls on this album, they aren't so indiscernible that you need to read along to the lyrics, and even those without a trained ear will have little difficulty understanding what Donny Hamilton is singing. This, along with the more melodic parts of this on offer here, really help to convey the emotive weight of the lyrics, and this overall makes Absent Not Dead a captivating and engaging listen, despite being only 15 minutes long.

Overall, Absent Not Dead is a solid, snapping EP that one can only hope will become a benchmark for Mother's Tomb to exceed on subsequent material. The poetic and tragic lyrics combined with the powerful vocals and instrumentation make this an emotive listen that sets them apart from a lot of extreme metal, a genre that is usually plagued by wars of heaviness and brutality, and that should be enough evidence to show this band has a lot of promise over the next few years.

Score: 7/10



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